New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday extended by three days the custodial interrogation of alleged hawala dealer Naresh Jain, arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. The case is linked to alleged dubious transactions worth over Rs 1 lakh crore made using over 550 shell firms over the last few years.
The accused was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Rajesh Malik on expiry of his nine day ED custody. The agency sought four days further custody of Jain, saying that the probe was incomplete.
Considering the fact that investigation is in progress and documents are to be analysed in the presence of the accused, therefore, three days custody remand of the accused is given to the applicant i.e. till September 14. The accused be produced before the concerned court on September 14, the judge said. The court also directed that the accused be medically examined before and after the custodial interrogation.
ED’s Special Public Prosecutor NK Matta told the court that during the previous custody, the accused was confronted with several witnesses in the case and a voluminous amount of documents was seized from his office. A number of people related to the case have been summoned and required to be confronted in the case. He is also needed to be questioned in regard to the documents that has been recovered, Matta told the court.
Jain, 62, has been arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for alleged hawala transactions. Hawala denotes to the illegal transfer of funds by skirting banking channels. A maze of 554 shell or dubious firms, at least 940 suspect bank accounts and fund transfers of over Rs 1.07 lakh crore are under the scanner of the agency in this probe, touted to be one of the biggest hawala and trade-based money-laundering cases of the country, the agency said.
Under the ED’s probe scanner are some ”big corporates and a large foreign exchange company”, the probe agency said. The ED said, ”Jain with his accomplices hatched a criminal conspiracy to forge and fabricate documents in order to cause loss to the government exchequer by indulging in illegal foreign exchange transactions.” ”Documents like identity proof, birth and education certificates, voter IDs, PAN cards and signatures were forged and fabricated to incorporate entities, operate bank accounts, facilitate bogus, over-invoiced, under-invoiced import and export transactions and rotation of funds through a web of shell companies to cause undue benefit to the parties involved and loss to the government exchequer,” it said.
Jain, it added, also ”facilitated parking of funds abroad by Indian nationals through his international hawala transaction structure created in India and in various other jurisdictions”. The agency is probing Jain and his associates as part of two money laundering cases that are based on a Delhi Police economic offences wing (EOW) FIR of 2018 and a criminal complaint of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), 2009.
Jain has been arrested by the ED in 2009 in the PMLA case emerging from the NCB case in December, 2009. The latest arrest of the Delhi-based businessman is in connection with the police EOW FIR filed on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy that was registered on the basis of a complaint sent by the ED to it.